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monday

Start the Week

Welcome to the start of another week at Inside Timeshare, last week we had the privilege of publishing our first article from Canada, sent in by the Club Intrawest Owners Group Hopefully this will be the first of many.

We also highlighted the latest news about the Anfi Tauro Beach Project, again the local people are being treated in the most dismal of ways. This project has been a fiasco right from the start, it has still a long way to go before it is resolved, we hope in the interests of the locals.

LIT

On the fake lawyers front we highlighted a very lucky escape for one of our new readers, it concerned Armando Gareca Abogados one of the new names in the Litigious Abogados family. At least this reader found out before he paid the initial fees to get a ficticious court case underway. This group has produced some very convincing documents and an even more convincing story, if you are contacted by them, think very carefully, if in doubt contact Inside Timeshare.

That intrepid law firm from Gran Canaria, Canarian Legal Alliance, also had a very good week, after publishing on Friday, our contacts informed us that they had received several Supreme Court rulings during the course of Friday afternoon. It brought the total of judgements by the highest court in Spain to 56, all brought by the lawyers at CLA. From what we at Inside Timeshare could gather those lawyers were absolutely ecstatic, as they received 5 rulings in one day!

From what we have been able to find out, no other law firm in Spain has ever achieved this amount of rulings, let alone had this number of cases sent to the Supreme Court. A truly remarkable achievement, with apparently many more still waiting to be heard.

nyt logo

To start the news this week, we look at a story from the New York Times, received by email for our morning briefing.

Europe Edition
Your Monday Briefing
By STEPHEN HILTNER
Good morning.
Here’s what you need to know:
The New York Times
• Turkey is facing mounting difficulties both at home and abroad.
The government has seized control of more than 950 companies since last July — from small baklava chains to large, publicly traded conglomerates — over accusations that they were linked to a coup attempt. The seizures, worth about $11 billion, have changed the way Turkey is perceived in the international business sphere. The Turkish lira is crumbling, and foreign investment has dropped by half compared with last year.

You may ask what has this got to do with timeshare?

Quite a bit if you have purchased a Club la Costa Fractional in Turkey!

As we know fractional is being sold as a real estate investment, with points attached in order to use it. The whole point is that it will increase in value and then be sold for, we hope, a profit in the future.

pigdress
Fractional, is it just a pig in a dress?

With the current situation in Turkey, it now makes this investment a rather dodgy deal. How long will it be before these seizures of businesses affect the resorts, after all who is building them, who owns them?

Also as foreign investment in Turkey is declining, will this make Club la Costa withdraw?

Will these properties actually get built?

What will happen if they don’t, will you get any of your money back?

Will CLC transfer you to a European Fractional?

These are all legitimate questions you should be asking yourself, where do you stand if it does go wrong?

Inside Timeshare is waiting for confirmation that the Supreme Court has made a ruling regarding fractional, once we receive this we will explain their judgement.

For the coming week, on Wednesday we will be publishing another article from Irene Parker, this one will be little different from our usual fare, it is a story of how timeshare should be, honest, above board and beyond reproach. But you will just have to wait till then.

Remember, it pays to do your due diligence and check things out before you go ahead and spend vast sums of money on anything to do with Timeshare. It is a minefield, so if you need any help or advice on how to check any company out contact Inside Timeshare and we will point you in the right direction.

If you have a story you would like to share with others contact us and we will work with you to publish it. Inside Timeshare is here to give you the facts, the truth and a place where you can share your own experiences with others.

thank-you-background-have-a-great-week_4lryptpix__F0000

 

bogus clipart

Another New Member of the Litigious Abogados Family Just Been Born!

In yesterday’s article it was mentioned that it was only time that a new name would surface for the fake law firm which is the Litigious Abogados family, well, after publishing it did surface!

amador-ganeca-logo

Amador Ganeca Abogados, the new firm and new website, created on 16 June 2017, which looks just like all the rest of them, all that is different are the names. Even the photo’s of the so-called lawyers are the same but with a change of name.

http://amadorganeca.com/

The pitch is the same, there is a trial about to take place against your timeshare resort and you can be part of this on a no win no fee basis. This trial is about to take place within the next few weeks, a date has even been set. It has been estimated that you are due ex-thousands of euros in compensation.

 

 

amador-ganeca-1
Amador Ganeca aka Armando Garcia

For the case to go ahead, the Procurador needs to be paid to handle the case, we do wonder who the new Procurador is, as there have been several in the past, all with very similar names. Once this is paid, the client will in the next month receive a letter and a “court document” to say that the director of the timeshare resort pleaded guilty, just wondering will it be Keith Baker again?

manuel-pralgo-namslom-wm

Manuel Pralgo Namslom aka Balthazar Fermid Nisberas

Now for the good news, you have been awarded 20,000€, they even send a photocopy of Banesto cheque in your name for that amount. Problem is Banesto has not existed as a bank since 2012. Plus courts do not issue cheques.

In order to receive this wonderful sum, you must now pay Spanish Tax! This amounts to around 21% of the awarded amount, once this is paid the court will release the cheque. Fantastic!

domingo-varlotes-biriendel-wm
Domingo Varlotes Biriendel new photo but  a slight change of name from the one below.

If like in the past, you will receive a brown jiffy bag posted from Tenerife with a letter from the court and the cheque. Only one problem, the envelope is open, the letter is there with a staple on the corner and a torn piece of paper where the cheque should be.

simone-maengas-arlovaz-wm

 

 

 

 

 

Simone Maengas Arlovaz aka Domingo Barlotes Miriendel

You will then receive a letter from another company that states that your cheque was cashed by a gang of Romanians, this company has been charged with the task of recovering your money from the bank. Great, but to do this they need a payment of at least 10% of the cheques value.

balthazar-hermid-nisbemas-wm

Balthazar Hermid Nisbemas aka Juan Firmid Mantadiz

It makes you wonder how many people have actually been taken in by this particular fraud?

The documents look very genuine, the letters written in English are actually very good, obviously a native, educated speaker. The whole operation is very well planned, the names of the law firms change virtually every couple of months, so they are keeping one step ahead of the authorities. No doubt, once your money is paid into the bank accounts of the Procurador, it is withdrawn and all trace is then lost. As we have said before this is a very sophisticated operation.

If you have been contacted by any of these “law firms”, or any other company that states your timeshare resort is about to be taken or has been taken to court, do your homework. Don’t be taken in by the huge sums of money they say you are due. If you have any doubts, contact Inside Timeshare and we will point you in the right direction.

Follow the links for the whole story.

http://insidetimeshare.com/a-narrow-escape/

http://insidetimeshare.com/go-abel-garcia-law-firm-always-wins/

http://insidetimeshare.com/litigipus-abogados-family-gets-bigger/

http://insidetimeshare.com/litigious-abogados-showing-charity/

http://insidetimeshare.com/abogados-abel-garcia-new-member-litigious-abogados-family/

http://insidetimeshare.com/litigious-abogados-plot-gets-thicker/

http://insidetimeshare.com/news-litigious-abogados/

http://insidetimeshare.com/litigious-abogados-new-update/

http://insidetimeshare.com/litigious-abogados-plot-thickens/

http://insidetimeshare.com/litigious-abogados-latest-information/

http://insidetimeshare.com/litigious-abogados-update/

http://insidetimeshare.com/1059-2/

homework1

start the week

Starting The Week.

We ended last week with a new contributor, Justin Morgan from Australia, along with some of the news from the courts in Spain. In those reports it was mention that the court in Tenerife had found once again against Diamond Resorts contracts. We have been reliably informed of many more cases in the pipeline.

If last week is anything to go by, we are expecting many more sentences being announced over the course of this week. Although, these will be among the last before the annual break in August, where Spain basically shuts down for the month.

Just moving away from Diamond for a change, last October we published an article of a class action lawsuit against Marriott. The case is for alleged “racketeering”, a term we usually associate with the old gangster films depicting the escapades of the likes of Al Capone, not large timeshare and hotel companies.

This the Irene Parker’s update on this story.

The Marriott Racketeering Case – An Update

Not since the Book of Genesis [1:9-10] has the extraordinary feat of creating land from nothingness been chronicled … and Marriott “saw that it was good” for business. (Plaintiff’s response to motion to dismiss)

Moses

By Irene Parker

Some stories tell themselves

July 3, 2017

Timeshare members find themselves with few friends in Florida state legislative and regulatory circles. The Florida Timeshare Division only acted on 110 out of 2,360 timeshare complaints filed from April 2012 to April 2014. In addition, a Florida law passed in 2015, making it more difficult to get out of a timeshare contract, sparked outrage among timeshare owners and advocates. I’m told $70 billion a year flows into Florida in timeshare dollars. That kind of money certainly could buy a lot of power and influence.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/taking-names-scott-maxwell/os-gov-rick-scott-signs-bad-timeshare-law-20150617-post.htm/

http://insidetimeshare.com/chicken-soup-timeshares-soul/

Paul Brinkmann of The Orlando Sentinel first reported on the Marriott Racketeering case back in May of 2016.

The lawsuit takes aim at Marriott’s points program, which replaced traditional sales of timeshare weeks at specific resorts in 2010. According to the suit, Marriott timeshare customers pay fees associated with owning real estate — such as closing costs and recording fees — but don’t actually own any real estate.

The lawsuit says Marriott timeshare buyers “are being duped into believing they are obtaining title to a real-property interest … when, in fact, they are merely getting a right-to-use license,” the lawsuit says.

Edward Kinney, spokesman for Marriott Vacation Club, said the company will defend itself in court. He said the timeshare industry is highly regulated.

“We sense the people behind this lawsuit have a misunderstanding of how our product works. But we follow every aspect of the state regulatory compliance for vacation ownership sales,” Kinney said. “Everything we do as far as sales are reviewed by the state.”

Fast forward one year later

On May 23, 2017, Governor Rick Scott signed into law SB-818 which amends Section 721.05(21) of the Timeshare Act by adding a subsection (b) to clarify that, for purposes of a “multisite timeshare plan” (e.g., the MVC Product), an “Interest Holder” does not include any person or entity that has an interest in, or lien on, the underlying condominium or property:

https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017/00818/?Tab=BillHistory

Revising the definition of the term “interest holder” to clarify that the term does not include certain parties to a certain multisite timeshare plan; revising requirements for the termination of a timeshare plan; specifying the percentage of votes required to extend the term of a timeshare plan under certain circumstances, etc.

Marriott defendants then submit to the Court

Case No. 6:16-cv-855-Orl-41TBS

This Notice is being submitted to alert the Court to a recent amendment (“Amendment”) to the Florida Vacation Plan and Timesharing Act, Fla. Stat. § 721.01, et seq. (“Timeshare Act”), in further support of the Marriott Defendants’1 and the First American Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss the Complaint (see Doc. Entries 77, 78, and 79, filed September 15, 2016).

Attorneys for the Plaintiffs respond to the request for dismissal (excerpts)

Based on the fact that the FVPTA Amendment (which became effective on May 23, 2017) is so specifically tailored to address a narrow exception pertaining precisely to the particular facts of this case, it is beyond obvious that Defendants (immediately following briefing on the motions to dismiss) railroaded the law through the legislative process.  Defendants’ blatant lobbying effort smacks of impropriety and amounts to an admission that their conduct is not authorized under existing law. Further, it is proof positive that Defendants are willing to use any means possible – including government influence – to mask the unlawfulness of their prior acts.  

Defendants were clever in making sure the FVPTA Amendment was characterized as a remedial “clarification.” Of course, simply calling it a “clarification” does not automatically bestow retroactive application – especially, in this case, where the FVPTA Amendment purports to clarify a long-standing law, enacted over twenty years ago.

An “interest holder” has a legally-binding property interest in the accommodations under the existing law. The definition of accommodation includes timeshare condominiums under the existing law. Fla. Stat. § 721.05(1). Therefore, it would substantively change the existing law to exclude from the definition of encumbrance anything that would be contained in a timeshare condominium declaration.

This makes it clear that the revision was recognized and acknowledged for what it truly is – a substantive change to existing law, creating new categories of exclusions to interest holders and having potential constitutional implications. Nothing in the legislative history, including any staff or committee analysis, provides even marginal support for the conclusion that the legislature intended the FVPTA Amendment to be a mere clarification that would have retroactive application in this case.

Regardless of Legislative Intent, FVPTA Cannot Have Retroactive Application because it will impair Vested Rights in Violation of the Constitution.

scroll

As usual, I contacted timeshare attorney Mike Finn of the Finn Law Group for his take on Governor Scott’s legislative prowess. Our Advocacy group of 84 Timeshare Advocates includes 18 attorneys. Timeshare is extremely specialized so we do not suggest any aggrieved timeshare member seek legal advice from any attorney without real estate or timeshare experience. Mike has assisted several timeshare owners needing legal assistance.

According to Mike,

“The constitution of the United States protects US citizens from Ex Post Facto laws, meaning that you cannot take an act and make it criminal after the fact. You can criminalize that action, but you can only do so prospectively because any actor is entitled to notice that this particular act is now a crime. How unfair it would be to be able to punish someone who had no previous warning that a non-criminal act was suddenly and with no advanced warning or notice made criminal?”

“There is no comparable constitutional protection in the civil arena even though the consequences in suddenly and intentionally changing a civil law while a case is pending, and applying the new law retroactively to a set of facts that resulted in extinguishing an existing and viable claim for monetary damages are essentially identical. Imagine how you would feel as the litigant bringing a claim, after hiring an attorney, filing a lawsuit that was meritorious when you filed it, only to have your case dismissed because the rules of the game were changed after you had filed your case?” “How dishonest!”

Attorneys for the plaintiffs continue

On May 16, 2016, the Plaintiffs (represented by Jeffrey Norton and the law firm of Newman Ferrara) filed a class action complaint against Marriott and First American (“Defendants”) that included numerous claims arising out of hundreds of thousands of instances of unlawful conduct, in which Defendants engaged for over seven years, related to the creation and continued sale and operation of the MVC Trust Product.

In December 2016, briefing on Defendants’ motions to dismiss was completed.

On February 9, 2017, SB 818 was introduced. That bill, introduced curiously on the heels of this action and immediately following briefing on the meaning of “interest holder” (a term having a direct impact on Defendants’ racketeering activity), sought to revise the definition of “interest holder” as it applies to the Florida Vacation Plan and Timesharing Act. More specifically, SB 818 aimed to “clarify” that the term “interest holder” excludes certain parties to certain multisite timeshare plans – a uniquely-focused amendment that appears specifically crafted to address claims in this case.

Three months to the day later, SB 818 was presented to Governor Scott for signature.

And, on May 23, 2017, SB 818 was enacted into law (the “FVPTA Amendment”).  Two weeks

later, on June 7, 2017, the Marriott and First American Defendants (the “Defendants”) filed the

Notice to “alert” the court of the FVPTA Amendment and its purported impact on this case.  

It seems obvious that because Defendants could not justify the legality of their conduct under existing law, they endeavored to change the rules. The Notice is tantamount to an admission that Plaintiffs’ claims are meritorious and that Defendants’ conduct violated the laws that actually were in effect during the relevant time period.

This is not the first time Defendants have endeavored to prevent this Court from considering the claims in the Complaint under existing law. Defendants previously filed a borderline frivolous motion seeking to invoke primary jurisdiction in order to refer the matter to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes (the “Division”), and a stay of the entire matter pending review by the Division.

(Note from Irene: Maybe that’s because only 110 out of 2,360 timeshare complaints were acted on by the Florida Timeshare Division.)

As argued by Plaintiffs, however, it is abundantly clear that the Division does not have primary jurisdiction over the claims in Complaint (and expressly rejects providing advisory opinions in pending litigation.

Parcels of real property do not simply materialize out of thin air by virtue of a statutory definition and nothing in the construction of a timeshare estate’s definition under Fla. Stat. § 721.05(34) supports Defendants’ preposterous construct.

girl

Whew! That was a lot for the average timeshare member to grasp, but more and more timeshare members are coming forward to learn about what goes on behind the scenes of their dream vacation. Inside Timeshare is hearing from timeshare members on a daily basis crying foul. Thank you to all our 18 attorney advocates as we work together to “take back our vacation” from an industry clearly in need of reform.

Once again Irene explains a difficult subject for us mere mortals in a way that is understood.

Over the weekend Inside Timeshare has received many more stories from some very concerned owners. It certainly looks like the articles we publish are hitting home to many owners, if you have any questions concerns or comments about anything published, contact Inside Timeshare and we will point you in the right direction.

                                                       

 

 

anfi ariel view

Anfi Special General Meeting, The Vote is In.

As we reported in Friday’s Letter From America, Anfi held a Special General Meeting at the H10 Hotel in Meloneras, Gran Canaria, the subject was the change in contracts to bring them into line with the law.

There were three resolutions on offer,

Voting on Resolution 1

To establish occupancy periods for a maximum of 50 years duration, with an option to extend for further recurring occupancy periods of 50 years.

This will bring the contracts in line with the 50 year rule established in Spanish timeshare law, but it allows you to extend voluntarily to another 50 years.

Voting on Resolution 2

To limit the duration of the Timeshare Scheme to a maximum of 50 years.

The same as resolution 1 without the option to extend to another 50 years.

Voting on Resolution 3

Total change of Timeshare Scheme to adapt to Spanish Act 4/2012.

This adapts the contract to  “Rotational Enjoyment Rights” Anfi explains it thus:

“Every current holder of a membership certificate shall be allocated a number of rotational enjoyment rights, equal to the number of membership certificates they currently hold and which will entitle them to enjoy the same week of use as they currently hold”.

The preliminary results are as follows, (these are not confirmed):

Anfi Beach Club

Resolution 1

  • In the favour: 4342 votes
  • Against: 140 votes
  • Abstention: 34 votes

Result: Approved

Resolution 2

  • In the favour: 2750 votes
  • Against: 1696 votes
  • Abstention: 119 votes

Result: NOT Approved

Resolution 3

  • In the favour: 2750 votes
  • Against: 1657 votes
  • Abstention: 115 votes

Result: NOT Approved

Club Monte Anfi

Resolution 1

  • In the favour: 2604 votes
  • Against: 245 votes
  • Abstention: 38 votes

Result: Approved

Resolution 2

  • In the favour: 1106 votes
  • Against: 1629 votes
  • Abstention: 161 votes

Result: NOT Approved

Resolution 3

  • In the favour: 1105 votes
  • Against: 1635 votes
  • Abstention: 156 votes

Result: NOT Approved

Club Puerto Anfi

Resolution 1

  • In the favour: 2358 votes
  • Against: 131 votes
  • Abstention: 29 votes

Result: Approved

Resolution 2

  • In the favour: 1287 votes
  • Against: 1142 votes
  • Abstention: 88 votes

Result: NOT Approved

Resolution 3

  • In the favour: 1304 votes
  • Against: 1126 votes
  • Abstention: 86 votes

Result: NOT Approved

Resolution 1 has been accepted for all three resorts, which is:

“To establish occupancy periods for a maximum of 50 years duration, with an option to extend for further recurring occupancy periods of 50 years”.

So how does this affect you?

Quite simply it doesn’t, it will only affect new contracts, the owners club does not have the right to change a bilateral agreement that was signed between you and Anfi. It will only affect you if you agree to and sign the new contract. If you do not accept the new contract your existing one remains in force, which means your contract is still a perpetuity one, which is still illegal under Spanish timeshare law.

This obviously means that you may claim back the purchase price and have the contract declared null & void. For those who do have claims underway in court, this is crucial they do not sign, as it would then make the claim invalid.

It is obvious that Anfi want you to change, it will save them a lot of problems in the courts, but it is your decision, not theirs!

As more information comes in we will publish so you have the facts.

update bricks

Since publishing we have received the following facts from Canarian Legal Alliance, they have contacted us with these figures and the latest judgment:

On Friday 23 June the HIGH COURT in Las Palmas announced the latest sentence against ANFI, with the contract being declared null & void with over 10,000€ being awarded back to the client. This was for a contract in perpetuity.

These are real figures direct from the Canarian courts along with real payouts. They are real sentences which are all ready to be executed (naturally all these amounts and sentences can easily be verified as they are public record), with many of these sentences published as news on this website as they happened. (search Supreme Court, High Court and First Instance).

So far overall court achievements from CLA against ANFI

• pay-outs to our clients from ANFI cases so far 1.133.560,06 €
• won cases ( all closed and ready for executions ) in the Supreme Court , High Court , and First Instance Courts with orders against ANFI for payments are 3.269.547,02 €
• On top of this CLA has 323 live cases in court and 279 soon to be presented.

So contrary to the spin Anfi try to put on all this, the courts are finding for clients, with Anfi having to lodge the money with the courts. The truth is out there for all to see, not just against Anfi but other resorts as well.

legal news

Another Week of Court Action

As we have seen over the past couple of years the Supreme Court rulings on timeshare is taking its toll on timeshare companies.

Only in the past week we have seen numerous cases being won in the lower courts, most notably those against Resort Properties / Silverpoint in Tenerife. Others have included Diamond Resorts and Lagos de Fañabé, also at the Tenerife Courts.

The weeks timeline:

29 May

Court of First Instance No 4, rules in favour of British clients ordering Silverpoint to return over £37,793 plus legal interest. The contract was also declared null & void, in this case the court ruled that the contract did not specify a date, time or location, other information was also lacking.

On the same day at the High Court No 3, ruled against Diamond, again there was a lack of information specified in the contract. The court ordered the return of over 28,000€ plus legal interest. The contract again being declared null & void.

31 May

The Court of First Instance No 1 in Tenerife found for British clients against Van Gogh Promotions. The contract was declared null and void with the return of £12,016 plus legal interest.

That afternoon, the First Instance Court in Maspalomas saw the end of another trial against Anfi, the sentence has yet to be announced. But if previous cases are anything to go by, along with the rulings of the Supreme Court, we can guess what that is going to be.

contract

1 June

The courts in Tenerife again found against Silverpoint, the court ruled that there were serious infringements of the timeshare laws. In this instance it was again the lack of specifics on week, time and location, it also mentioned the infringements in the R/P / Silverpoint system of points. It also ruled that the taking of deposits within the cooling off period was illegal and awarded DOUBLE the amount back, these clients will now receive over £47,131 plus all maintenance fees and legal interest.

2 June

Two cases from the Tenerife courts ruled against Silverpoint, again it is the same infringements of the timeshare laws. In these cases a German client was awarded over 27,489€ plus legal interest, then a British client was awarded over £30,062 plus legal interest. Both contracts were declared null and void.

5 June

Again from Tenerife, the court ruled against Lagos de Fañabé, the main point of this judgement was the length of the contract, being in perpetuity, or longer than the allowed 50 years. The client again British will receive over £11,000 plus legal interest and legal fees. The contract also being declared null & void.

6 June

Another end to a trial at the court in Maspalomas, again concerning Anfi. British clients are now waiting for the court to issue its verdict. Again, if the Supreme Court rulings apply, we know what that will mean.

7 June

At the time of writing the latest news from Tenerife was announced. The High Court No 3, has declared another Silverpoint contract null & void, with return of over 25,698€ plus legal fees and legal interest.

The courts are certainly keeping busy with all these cases, but there are certainly some very happy clients. Following is the story (translated) posted by a Scandinavian client on facebook.

“Today, after many years in the legal system, we have completed our case against Monte Anfi.

The Supreme Court of Madrid decided in March 2016 that our contracts were invalid and we had to have our expenses returned.

We paid in 2005, 34,000€ and have received 340,000 Norwegian Kroner, around 35,756.91€, after the Canarian Legal Alliance has received their fees.

We are deeply grateful for the help the Canarian Legal Alliance has provided us.

We hope that others who want out of their contract will be as lucky as us”.

scandi anfi

 

So for those who post on social media that no one gets paid out, this shows they do, not everyone will post their story, most wish to remain anonymous.

It now remains to be seen how many turn up for the Anfi SGM on 23 June. It will also be interesting to see how many will accept and sign the new contract, or will they take up the legal option, having their contracts declared null & void, with the return of all they have paid?

Inside Timeshare will be watching these events and will report when the news comes in.

If you have any questions about any article we publish contact Inside Timeshare and we will be pleased to help.

important news

Horror Weekend at Los Claveles

los claveles logo

Over the past week Inside Timeshare has been running the story of the diabolical goings at Los Claveles in Tenerife, things have now escalated to a new level. Carol Parkinson aged 71, was at the resort speaking with another owner at the pool bar, 4 Police officers, one can only guess they were from Policia National, they proceeded to arrest her. This appears to have been orchestrated by the so-called management company Ona Group.

At 1:52pm on Saturday 27 May, Inside timeshare received the following from the Club Chairman Albert Fletcher:

Dear CHARLES

We have a situation.  Carol Parkinson the Club President has been arrested on the Resort by 4 police officers.  She is at the Adeje national Police Station.  She is waiting for an interpreter.  She is accused of Criminal damage but has no idea of what they are talking about.  On Thursday she was assaulted by an Onagrup employee and had a bruise on her arm.  She attended the hospital and made a complaint to the police.  We think that an accusation has been made to get there own back.

Our solicitor is not answering his phone being a week end.  They are threatening to keep Carol locked up until Monday,  why we do not know.

She is in desperate need of an English speaking solicitor at the Police Station.  Can you help with finding one at short notice?

Thanks

Albert

Sent from my iPad

This is a very disturbing turn of events, it is a very severe escalation of the battle going on for control of this resort which is governed by the Owners Committee on behalf of all the members and owners. This is in accordance with communidad rules and the constitution of the club.

The resort for around 25 years was managed by Ivan Pengelly’s company Wimpen, after a management buyout from Wimpy. Los Claveles was a very rare phenomenon in the timeshare industry, being one of the very few where the owners committee worked closely with the management company. In fact there are no known adverse comments or complaints about the resort, which boasted one of the friendliest family atmospheres of any resort in timeshare. As Mac puts it in his email to Inside Timeshare at 5:27pm on 27 May:

Charles,

Onagrup’s dirty business at Los Claveles goes on. The fact that 4 police officers arrived to arrest a 71 year old lady tells us all we need to know what’s going on inside the Spanish establishment on the island. There can be no doubt that it was deliberately done in this way to intimidate her and keep her off the resort.

Pengelly asked owners to trust him over the sale of his business to Onagrup and this is what it has come to. It’s shameful, and he is responsible. He is the President and everything that his Administrator does is in his name. It is a spectacular fall from grace for someone who once had a clean reputation in the timeshare industry.

Regards,

Mac

Sent from my iPad

As we can see from Mac’s message, Ivan Pengelly is still President of the company and the Administrator does everything in his name. We have to wonder how Pengelly must be feeling now, especially as he asked the owners and members to trust him when he sold to the Ona Group, promising that everything would be alright and nothing would change. How wrong could he have been,from one of the most respected reputations in the timeshare industry to one that is now amongst the worst. What a fall from grace!

Ivan Pengelly
Ivan Pengelly in his glory days!

At 16:02pm 27 May the news came in of why Carol had been arrested, it also informs us that on the previous day she was again assaulted by Ona Group staff, taken to hospital and then made a complaint to the police. We can only guess and to be perfectly honest we are probably right that the Ona Group used this and the weekend to counter attack, knowing that she would get no help. In Spain the police can hold a person for 72 hours.

Following is the message Albert sent out:

Begin forwarded message:

From: Albert Fletcher <albertejfletcher@msn.com>

Date: 27 May 2017 at 16:02:23 BST

To: (Various recipients removed by Inside Timeshare)

Subject: Carol

Dear Friends,

Carol was arrested by 4 police officers around lunch time today.  She was sitting at the pool bar talking to Graham Holland.  It appears the charge is Criminal damage or assault.

Carol was assaulted on Friday by a man in reception.  She had a bruise on her arm.  She had great difficulty in reporting the incident to the police who sent her to the hospital.  Problems arose and the hospital examination failed and therefore the complaint was never recorded.

This is obviously A false complaint to hide the attack on Carol.  The Police have not taken a statement and the solicitor who was with Carol at the police station advised her to say nothing.

After threatening to keep Carol locked up until Monday they released her on conditional bail, including reporting and keeping away from Los Claveles.  Carol has to attend Court on Monday at 10.00 am.  Carol has not been given details of the allegations other that she has damaged someone’s glasses costing €1,300.  Carol does not know anything about this.

Hiro and other solicitors all have their phones switched off for the week-end and offices are closed.  This was a well timed complaint to the police designed to cause distress and keep Carol off the Resort.  Carol has a witness to the attack on her who will be at Court. Alex is assisting as best he can.

Albert

At least some of the news was good, Carol would not have to spend the weekend in what we know are disgusting conditions of the holding cells.

Looking at Albert’s last email, it is clear this is a total fabrication by Ona Group in their campaign to destroy what was once a thriving club. Anyone in their right mind should be able to see through this, a 71 year old lady with an impeccable reputation being accused of “criminal damage or assault”, is ludicrous at the very least

Inside Timeshare urges anyone who knows an English speaking Lawyer in Tenerife and is in Tenerife to contact Albert, your help is needed. Inside Timeshare has tried, but the weekend is notorious for making contact.

We also ask that all readers share this post on facebook and other social media, and as Irene Parker, Inside Timeshares US partner says:

Will keep them in our prayers

Total thugs

Doesn’t anyone in law enforcement see through this?

Irene.

To Carol and all the committee and members at Los Claveles, you are not alone. Inside Timeshare will keep publishing your news and we all hope that someone within the National Police comes to their senses and puts a stop to the thuggery of the Ona Group. To Ivan Pengelly, we say shame on you, it would seem you were bought off, reputation is worth more, you have destroyed yours.

 

letter from america

Friday’s Letter From America

Welcome to this week’s Letter From America, and what a week it has been, Irene Parker has been kept busy with the Diamond Advocacy work, as well as being slave to writing for Inside Timeshare. Keep it coming Irene!

There have been some great results for some of those the advocacy team are working for, in one case thanks to the publishing of one article Diamond reached out to a family and resolved the problem. This was even before they had lodged a complaint, so it does show that they are watching what we publish and that your voices are being heard.

Irene also confirmed that another family have had a successful resolution, we are unable to publish the details as they are subject to a non disclosure agreement. But Inside Timeshare will give credit where credit is due and say well done to Diamond Resorts International, As we often say, take notice of your members and you will prosper as a company.

Back over this side of the great lake, we have been publishing a very disturbing story about Los Claveles. The news coming in is some of the worst that I have personally ever heard, elderly people being forcibly removed from their apartments, being forcibly prevented from lawfully entering their apartments and the resort.

los claveles logo

The President of the Owners Committee, who is I believe 70 herself, has been subject to verbal and physical abuse, ( the verbal being threats of sexual abuse). All this by staff and security of the Ona Group. Long standing staff and resort manager have been sacked and replaced by Ona Groups own personnel, even though their contract to manage the resort on behalf of the owners has ended. If this is not criminal behaviour, what is?

We will be keeping you upto date on any developments as they come in, Inside Timeshare has promised to keep this story in the public eye.

That group of groundbreaking lawyers are at it again, Canarian Legal Alliance has published the results of another two victories this week, there are more but until they publish them we cannot.

The first was on Monday 22 May, in this case it was Holiday Club in Gran Canaria. The Court of First Instance No1 in Maspalomas, ordered that the contracts be declared null & void due to various infringements of the timeshare law. They also ordered that as they also had taken deposits within the cooling off period, which is forbidden, they would have to pay back DOUBLE the amount received. The client in this instance will receive back over 36,000€.

In the second case, Silverpoint have been ordered to return to the German clients over 24,000€ plus legal interest. The contract was also declared null & void.

The judge of the Court of First Instance No3 in Arona, Tenerife, found various infringements in the contract, and found that the documents were indeed illegal. This is another blow for this particular company, who have been the subject of many years of legal battles, clients are now seeing justice thanks to the rulings of the Supreme Court.

Now to this Friday’s Letter From America, this article by Irene was first published in 2016, due to the problems of the Los Claveles owners, she thought it would be appropriate to re-publish it, in support of these beleaguered owners.

The Mafia Owns my Timeshare?

How to take back your holiday or vacation

al capone

By Irene Parker

May 26, 2017

Inside Timeshare first published this true story in 2016. Given the shocking timeshare battle between the original owners of Los Claveles and the Ona Group taking place in Spain, we thought this would be a good time to publish it again in a show of support for our timeshare brothers and sisters. Here in America we are no strangers to fights over HOA (Home Ownership Associations, Club Committees, (IT comment))  timeshare board control.

Retired Officer Douglas Goldie’s letter brought back memories of our story, especially in reference to divided loyalties between timeshare owners and timeshare developers, except our owner and knight was a state representative.

It all started when I started to pitch the invitation to the annual meeting of Holiday Shores in the trash bin when I happened to read something to this effect:

You are invited to attend the annual meeting for Holiday Shores. Please consider attending or your week will be auctioned off on the steps of the Sheriff’s office on Tuesday at 3:30 PM.

It was the first and last timeshare annual meeting we ever attended.

Here’s what happened

One day, in 1984, my fiancée told me he bought a timeshare called Holiday Shores.  Little did he know it was owned by the Mafia.  Holiday Shores is located in the Missouri Ozarks and was a popular vacation spot for the Mafia.

Needless to say, we attended. There was not enough room for all of us at the scheduled location, so we all moved to the church where we managed to get a seat in the rafters. The resort’s timeshare attorney started the meeting by dramatically rolling out a scroll that flew out about 20 feet as he explained the Bennett family of New York was putting a lien on the property as the construction company had not been paid by the resort owners. Somehow the resort discovered the owners of the resort and the owners of the construction company were cousins.    

Fortunately for us, Jim Marshall of Marshall Missouri was an owner and a state representative. The story has a happy ending because, thanks to Mr. Marshall, and the efforts of the timeshare owners sticking together, our timeshare was taken back and the resort lived happily ever after. It’s still there.

The moral of the story is that owners can make a difference.

Richard Rohr in his book, Immortal Diamond, talks about Swiss psychiatrist C. G. Jung and how he feared the manipulation, violation, and “annulment” of the human personality. Although Jung was often critical of Christianity, his comment parallels Pope John Paul the II when he described “rigid capitalism” as when capitalism becomes destructive, denying many of the essentials of humanness.

Battles like the one taking place at Los Claveles and at various resorts in America and Canada are really about greed. Ever an optimist, Inside Timeshare reaches out not only to timeshare owners, but to timeshare sales agents and developers to come to the table to work out differences. Listen, don’t dictate.

A 90 year old young new friend of mine named Ed said in a Centering Prayer meeting after reading Mr. Rohr’s passage above, “Unity is about Flow. When we are divided we are not “In Synch”. Whether the division is over timeshare control or the political divide at its worst in America, let’s hope both sides of the industry and our country take a deep breath, clean out our ears, and listen.

As I wrote this story, the phone rang with a second positive outcome this week from a timeshare member angry with Diamond Resorts. She happily reported that the issue she and her husband had with Diamond Resorts had been resolved and she knew it would not have happened without the availability and efforts of our Timeshare Advocacy Group.

It’s easy to focus on the negatives, but we must give credit where credit is due. The wheels turn slowly, but they won’t turn at all if no one is listening and no one will listen if timeshare members don’t organize, energize and act to let the people who control our vacation know when the motivation for greed has overpowered human compassion and understanding.

Sometimes timeshare reform feels like this but together progress happens.

hammer

We seek to provide Diamond Resort members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

Inside Timeshare (Charles & Irene) thank all those who have contributed in this week’s articles, we also thank you all for the comments and support on the Advocacy and Inside Timeshare Facebook pages.

These are your stories and experiences, by sharing them you help others to see they are not alone. Keep contributing and let’s work together to bring some justice to owners and members.

Have a good weekend.

weekend cat

heavy handed

Los Claveles: The Battle Goes On!

We continue the sad tale of the struggle Los Claveles owners are having with Ona Group over their refusal to allow them access to their own apartments, along with forceful removal of owners from the resort, many of whom are elderly. We also reported in the last article about the abuse that Carol Parkinson, who is also elderly, has suffered, both verbally and physically at the hands of Ona Group staff and security.

Carol is the club President and is in Tenerife trying to help owners arriving and unable to lawfully access their apartments, which many have owned for 30 years. She is working tirelessly under difficult conditions to ensure that they have somewhere to stay.

Inside Timeshare has promised the members of the committee and especially the Chairman Albert, that we will publish their letters and inform the world of timeshare. This is also a warning to other owners whose resort management has been taken over by this company. This is what you can expect.

We start with an open letter from Douglas Goldie a long standing owner and a retired Police officer, it is an open letter to all owners.

los claveles logo

CLUB LOS CLAVELES

Open letter from owner Douglas Goldie

24th May 2017

Dear Owner Friends

I just want to reiterate that Avril and I fully support the committee in what they are attempting to do for us.  Like many we sometimes feel frustrated at the speed of progress and the lack of detailed information but we fully appreciate the reasons information is withheld and realise that we are in this for the long game.

We urge you to keep your faith in the committee and continue your support. We have made donations, loans and paid our 2018 fees to the club in advance.  We are not rich by any means but we have no regrets over our actions so far.  We just wish we were in a better position to do more.

As a retired Police officer having completed 30 years’ service upholding the criminal law I think I am qualified to recognise criminal activity in whatever country it originates and if our meagre contributions help bring some justice to this situation then it has been worth it.

I spent a considerable part of my life assisting and supporting victims of crime and that is exactly what we are right now. Please don’t give in to the people trying to take what is ours.  A lost or spoiled holiday would be devastating to us but would be well worth it to see justice done and we truly believe justice will prevail if we stick together and support our committee and helpers.

Please do not pay your fees to people who wish us all harm. To do so would condone and support their criminal activity against all of us including yourselves.  It is obvious they are trying to divide our loyalty. Let’s not let them. Let’s stick together.

Yours sincerely,

Douglas

In this letter Douglas clearly has a valid point, to pay your annual fees to these people gives them credibility, it will also allow them to claim they are right!

In a response to his letter the Chairman of the Owners Committee, Albert Fletcher has issued this statement.

los claveles logo

CLUB LOS CLAVELES

Club Chairman’s Statement, 25th May 2017

on Douglas Goldie’s Open Letter

 

The Committee would like to take this opportunity to thank Douglas Goldie for his letter and for the support he is giving to the Club, plus all the other members who have contacted me and commented expressing their support.  Members should continue to pay their maintenance fees to the Club, not WimPen, and are encouraged to make payment as early as possible.  

Owners have asked who they should believe when they keep getting two different messages about who is in the right. I say once again, WimPen’s management contract ended on the 2nd May, regardless of the outcome of Arbitration.  We are still awaiting the final decisions of Arbitration despite requests for an early resolution in view of the escalation of events for Club owners at Los Claveles.

Onagrup/WimPen never gives you the whole story but sadly has all the ‘aces’ as it holds our assets and is trying to starve us of the funds to fight for what is ours.  You have to make your own minds up about who you believe to be right in this dispute, considering all of the considerable information made available to you from both sides, but bear in mind your committee members are the only ones who have nothing more to gain than other owners, but much more to lose with all we have invested personally.  

If Members are in any doubt about who to pay their maintenance fees to, please do not contact WimPen sales or administration as they are giving out the opposite advice to the Club, despite WimPen having no contractual agreement to invoice Club Members and collect maintenance payments from them.  Club President Carol Parkinson is available to give any further reassurance. Her phone number is  07931 778886 and her email is carol.parkinson@ntlworld.com

albert sign

Albert Fletcher

Chairman, Club Los Claveles

In his letter Albert confirms that Wimpen/OnaGrup no longer has the right of management, their contract ended on 2nd May 2017. He also states that it is the owners / members of the club who have the most to lose. The initial outlay for your weeks and apartments, the years of paying the maintenance fees for them and the prospect of losing the one thing of importance, the sense of community and family that you have all built up over the years.

Wimpen and Ona Group are not the only ones at fault here, the trust company FNTC is also culpable. In January 2016, the following letter was sent to FNTC, it formally raises a complaint, on their refusal to hand over to Hutchinson Trust Company, who the committee employed to replace FNTC. It also highlights their refusal to allow access to the club members database, this is essential if the committee is to inform all members of the situation.

 

CLUB LOS CLAVELES

21 January 2016

Mr Mike Lightfoot

Managing Director

First National Trustee Company Limited

International House

Douglas

Isle of Man

IM2 4RB

Dear Mr Lightfoot,

Official Complaints Procedure

This complaint is directed against Mr Declan Kenny,  Mr Philip Broomhead and the Company (Trustees)

  1. During the many years of employing the Company there has never been an employee attend any General Meeting of the Club or Committee.
  2. There was a very important meeting of the Club, an AGM held in June 2015 that involved the ratification of the Termination of the Management Contract between the Club and Wimpen/Onagrup.  Mr Kenny was expressly asked to send a representative to this meeting and failed to do so.
  3. The Management Contract was terminated at the Committee Meeting held on 31 March 2015.  This was recorded in the minutes and confirmed by letter from me as Chairman on the same day.  Copies of the minutes and letter are with yourselves.  I spoke to Mr Broomhead,  informed him that I had been elected as Chairman and that we had terminated the Management Contract.  In answer to my question Mr Broomhead informed me that as Chairman I would take responsibility for the common Parts.  This is known as “The Development Owners Association” and sometimes referred to as “Comunidad”.  To date, I as Chairman have not been handed the necessary authority to control the Common Parts by FNTC.
  4. During a meeting with Mr Broomhead, in front of the solicitor acting for the Committee, Mr John Hughes, Consultant, Shakespeare Martineau in Birmingham, Mr Broomhead accused myself and Carol Parkinson (a Committee Member) of lying and actively came to the defence of Onagrup/Wimpen.  There was no justification given other than Wimpen/Onagrup had told him a different story.
  1. Mr Kenny met with the Committee on 13 October 2015.  He promised to open an Escrow account and instruct Onagrup/Wimpen to place all monies belonging to the Club into this account.  This he has failed to do.
  2. At the meeting on 13 October Mr Kenny agreed that the contract with Wimpen/Onagrup had been terminated and he would help the Club in any way he could.  Specifically he agreed that if Wimpen/Onagrup continued to prevent proper access for the Committee to the Club Database (Member Register) then he would allow the Committee to use the FNTC Database.  This he did on one occasion but subsequently refused further access.  This will be detailed later.
  3. At the meeting on 13 October Mr Kenny agreed to ensure that the Club took control of the Common Areas (The Development Owners Association) by giving the votes held by FNTC in respect of Escrituras to the Club Chairman.  This was to be used to replace Mr Pengelly (Onagrup employee) as the President.  For information:  The DOA controlled the Club by holding the bank account and employing all Resort staff.  This position also controlled the appointment of an Administrator, a requirement in Spain.  Mr Kenny has subsequently refused to do this.
  4. Rather than support the Club in removing Onagrup/Wimpen as per the Constitution and democratic decisions reached at an AGM Mr Kenny has openly stated that the best thing for the Club is for Wimpen/Onagrup to continue running things.
  5. A meeting was held in Barcelona between myself, representatives from Onagrup and Mr Broomhead.  The meeting was to see if there was a way forward that could be negotiated to bring this situation to a mutually agreed conclusion.  During this meeting I quickly gained the impression that Mr Broomhead was acting more of a Solicitor on behalf of Onagrup than assisting me in any way.  Mr Broomhead interrupted me on several occasions saying that I had no right to discuss issues (an example of this was around the DOA)
  6. On the one occasion that Mr Kenny sent out a mailing for the Committee there were substantial amounts of mail that was returned.  This included:

Gone away 6 years ago

Undelivered not known at this address

We sold our weeks 10 years ago

We have not owned at Los Claveles for many years

 This will of course mean that many legitimate members were not contacted at all.

 It is the duty of FNTC to keep accurate Member Records.  This is a falling of FNTC

  1.   Mr Kenny and Mr Broomhead have threatened to call a meeting of the Club without

       the consent of the Committee.  They have threatened to actively support the sending

       out of information on behalf of Wimpen/Onagrup although their services had been

       terminated in order to encourage re-instatment and to undermine the Committee.  

       FNTC have no authority to do this

  1.   Mr Kenny has refused to supply the Club (through me Chairman) address labels                Members so that the Chairman and Committee can communicate directly.
  2. Mr Kenny has refused to supply me, as Chairman and the Committee a list of Members and weeks owned.
  3. Mr Kenny has refused to supply a list of all Cancelled weeks that are the responsibility of the Club Committee.
  4. Mr Kenny has refused to supply documentation to prove the validity of Founder Members.  This should have transferred when FNTC took over the Trusteeship.
  5. FNTC is in breach of the Deed of Trust 1.3 stating that they must accept the decisions conveyed to FNTC by the Chairman without right of challenge.  This has been ignored.  (I as Chairman have been ignored).
  6. As Chairman I called a Special General Meeting of the Club (This took place on 16 January 2016 Minutes will follow shortly).  I sent the papers for the meeting to Onagrup, as they had control of our Member Register and instructed them to be sent out without any delay.  It was some time later than Mr Broomhead emailed me and said that Onagrup will not be sending out the papers as the SGM was illegal.  

Mr Broomhead supported this stance without any authority.  Another example of Mr Broomhead appearing to be working for Onagrup.

  1. Onagrup/Wimpen have refused to pay legitimate Club legal expenses and also Committee Member expenses.  This stance has been supported by Mr Kenny and Mr Broomhead who have said that Onagrup will pay these when I, as Chairman, sign a new contract with Onagrup.  Blackmail on behalf of Onagrup by FNTC obviously working closely together against the interests of the Club, Committee and Committee Members.
  2. On 23 May 2012 an agreement was signed By Mr Pengelly (an Onagroup employee) on behalf of the Club Committee with Hutchinson.  This agreement transferred the Trusteeship from FNTC to Hutchinson.  This contract was a result of an earlier AGM decision and substantial notice being given to FNTC.  The delay in transferring all documentation by FNTC is unacceptable.  As recently as last week I am informed by Hutchinson that Mr Kenny is refusing to accept their calls and enquiries regarding this matter.  It is my belief that this delay is deliberate by FNTC in order for them to continue supporting the activities of Onagrup against the wishes of the Club.  This transfer must take place immediately.

Mr Lightfoot,  unfortunately these points only highlight the main issues.  There are other examples but I believe you have enough to be going on with.  I am enclosing minutes of Committee Meetings held on 31 March, 27 July, 1 September 2015 and 5 January 2016.  You will of course have access to all the emails received by Mr Kenny and Mr Broomhead from myself and Carol Parkinson and their replies.  May I also ask that you look at the emails between  FNTC and Onagrup/Wimpen.  I hope that you will agree to safeguard all the emails in the event they are required by a regulator or Arbiter should this matter require progression.

Thank you for considering this matter

Yours sincerely,

Albert E.J. Fletcher

Chairman

Club Los Claveles

So there we have it, what I believe to be the truth in this sorry tale, it is certainly one of David Versus Goliath.

Inside Timeshare urges all owners or club members not just from Los Claveles, but all timeshare resorts to stand behind them and give whatever support you can. It may be you next!

If any readers know anything about crowd funding, which could help the beleaguered committee to raise the funds to fight this, either contact Inside Timeshare and we will pass it on, or contact the committee members direct.

crowd funding

YOUR SUPPORT IS ESSENTIAL!

 

Los Claveles: Is This a Return to the Bad Days of Timeshare in Tenerife?

Trustees: Independent or Part of the Problem?

letter from america

Friday’s Letter From America

Welcome to our “Friday’s Letter From America”

Following our theme of readers experiences, today David Franks shares his and his wife’s holiday turned into nightmare by a sales presentation. What was supposed to be 90 minutes turned into 5 hours of hell.

As usual we start with a few items from Europe, yesterday we published a rather tongue in cheek article about the court ruling against TATOC, as we said in the article all comments have now been removed from the TATOC Facebook page. This includes the comment about someone meeting Harry Taylor and found him to be a gentleman. It certainly looks like they are on the defensive.

Last week ended with the news after publication of another defeat in the Tenerife courts for Silverpoint.

In this case Court No 3 in Arona found for the British clients of CLA and ruled that the contract did not fulfill the terms of Spanish timeshare law, the court awarded them over 13,000€ and declared the contracts null & void.

The Supreme Court rulings are certainly having an effect on timeshares sold in Spain.

Tauro beach gone

In Gran Canaria, the beach at Tauro, which was the artificial beach being developed by Anfi remains closed to the public, that is not surprising really as much of the sand has been washed away. There was some worry last week as we were expecting some severe storms, these thankfully never came. There have however been reports, though unconfirmed of sightings of scorpions on the remaining sand. One does wonder if it could be true as the sand came from Western Sahara and was untreated.

The investigation into corruption over the project is ongoing along with the investigations of licences and other documents being forged. The former head of the coastal authority is still awaiting trial, we will report on that as we get the news in.

Inside Timeshare has been receiving many emails from US owners, these are passed on to Irene Parker, who is better place to deal with them, however we have also been receiving many questions from owners in the UK. These mainly concern calls they have received that say they have a claim, on a “no win no fee” basis. Many of the names are not new to us, and are what can only be described as “dubious”.

In many cases the consumer does not have a valid claim as they did not purchase in Spain. It then turns out that the “claim” is going to be on a section 75 of the credit consumer act, with then a substantial amount to be paid to relinquish / surrender the timeshare. Unfortunately, section 75 is not going to work, the credit card company / provider will rightly state that you purchased ex number of years ago and have used it. Therefore you have received the goods and services paid for, the act does not cover illegal timeshare contracts. So the so-called “no win no fee” claim is just a ploy to get thousands from the owners to just be rid of it.

On this particular theme, Inside Timeshare has saved this week alone several readers from paying anything to the “fake” law firm in Tenerife, the family known as Litigious Abogados and company. At least the news is spreading.

wensley clarkson

A new book is due to be published on 1 June and will be available from Amazon. The book is the story of John “Goldfinger” Palmer, who was implicated in the Brinks Mat bullion robbery but was found not guilty by a jury for smelting it down. It charts his Tenerife Timeshare business in which many people lost thousands of pounds. The author Wensley Clarkson contacted Inside Timeshare after reading a previous article “TIMESHARE” A Dirty Word For Many.” He thought it might be of interest. I will certainly be placing my order.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Killing-Goldfinger-Inside-Story-Britains-Richest-Gangster/1786484862

Now onto our Friday’s Letter from America.

Our Diamond Resorts Misadventures

Aces

Chapter One: Vegas, Baby!

“Those who are incapable of committing great crimes do not readily suspect them in others.” François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Prince de Marcillac

By David Franks

May 19, 2017

My lovely wife and I enjoy Las Vegas. Our last visit, in July 2015, found us at The Golden Nugget. Unfortunately, Diamond Resorts was also there, at the entrance fronting the parking garage. We had seen the two episodes of Undercover Boss featuring Stephen Cloobeck, who had striven to be impressive. We were offered gift cards that seemed ample compensation for the supposed ninety minutes they would commit us to, and we’d get to see what passes for a resort near Las Vegas.

The next day, they shuttled us to Diamond’s Cancun Resort, barely within sight of town. In we went, and into a conference room where we filled out a survey about our travel interests. Then the earnest pitchman told us about the benefits of buying in. He focused on cost control, talking about the exchange value of Diamond points and their supposedly stable cost over time, compared to an inflation rate he pulled out of some warm part of his digestive tract. He said quite a bit about the exchange value of Diamond points, mentioning 30 cents several times. He might have mentioned a 20-cent valuation a couple of times; but apparently he wasn’t interested in promoting the more plebeian levels of membership.

There were a couple of people in the group who claimed to be happy owners of timeshares. As I recall, they were not Diamond members, but I have no evidence that they were shills.

That took about eighty of the ninety minutes.

The targets were then ushered out to a large room with bad lighting and loud music, where we would discuss our most intimate aspirations and financial details at tables separated only by a few feet and loud music – a disoriented slice of vulnerable humanity.

Well, we tried to not be interested. We told the helpful salesperson that our only conceivable interest in Diamond was as a small outlay whose yearly expense would goad us into getting out of the house once a year. We enjoy traveling, but we also enjoy being at home, and we are frugal wherever we are. Economy would be the key.

We explained that we like cruises and train travel, road trips, old motels and roadside attractions, and dining at local restaurants. After a while, the attentive salesperson stopped talking about resorts and started talking instead about how points can be used for all kinds of travel for their exchange value (20- or 30-cent). He talked about how being a member of Diamond Resorts and Interval International made it possible to book any kind of travel, get discounted pricing and pay for it with points. We asked about European river cruises, explaining that we would be interested in a Viking river cruise on the Rhine or the Danube. He said that should not be a problem. We explained that we didn’t want to spend any additional money. He said that should be possible, though we might need to save points so as to use two years’ worth at one time.

A couple of hours later, the solicitous salesperson suggested a tour of the resort. We tried to tell him (again) that it would not be necessary because we have no interest in resorts, but he would have none of it. He was proud of the irresistible pile of faux-Mayan faux stucco, and off we went to the example unit. I explained (again) that I cook at home, and see no need to go on vacation to cook. Back we went to the interrogation room.

Certain that he could pretend to meet our stated expectations, the intrepid salesperson showed us several options for joining, to no avail. After another hour or so, he excused himself for an awkward spell, and then returned with a grizzled veteran of the timeshare wars. He had with him the  data sheet for a 2500-point membership. He said they don’t usually offer them, but – as he was unable to let us go without buying something, however inappropriate – here we were. It was pointed out to us that this would not get us a full week in a resort, which was irrelevant to us. It would give us an opportunity to experience the advantages of Diamond membership, they said. It was not pointed out to us that this minimum membership had few of the benefits that had been sold to us.

We bit.  About an hour later, as we flailed around in the flurry of papers they thrust at us, one of the three people who had ganged up on us by that point mentioned, in reply to our question, that Diamond does not buy back memberships, but members can certainly resell them themselves – not that anybody ever wants to, of course.

We were there for a bit over five hours. By that time, the shuttle bus had become an antique and was placed in a museum, so the helpful salesperson called a cab and paid the driver to take our gullible selves back to our hotel. We enjoyed chatting with the cab driver.

Man board

Important points so far:

  • The music was playing at about 75 decibels – almost as loud as a vacuum cleaner. Conversation was difficult.
  • The 20 or 30 cent exchange value of points was the only exchange value mentioned.
  • Convenient, discounted travel was emphasized.
  • The availability and advantage of comprehensive service through Interval International was emphasized. (This despite the fact that Interval International had stopped providing comprehensive service for Diamond at the end of 2014).
  • There is a distinct and important difference between “Diamond Resorts does not buy back memberships, but members can certainly resell them themselves” and “Diamond Resorts actively obstructs individual resale of membership and the resale industry won’t deal with them.”

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

Inside Timeshare would like to thank David for his article and sharing his experience at the hands of Diamond sales agents in Vegas. It is the first time we have heard of loud music during the presentation process, it does make you wonder if these agents had been trained by someone well versed in the techniques of interrogation!

Also once again thanks to Irene Parker for her invaluable help in bringing people together to share those experiences and editing the articles, it has saved a lot of time at this end.

If you have any stories and experiences such as this you would like to share, you can contact Inside Timeshare or our Advocacy Facebook page.

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to do your homework, it will save you money in the end.

friday dog

 

 

 

 

 

homework1

letter from america

Friday’s Letter From America

Welcome to this Friday’s Letter from America, first a recap on the past week.

On Monday we wished the National Timeshare Owners Association a happy anniversary. For 20 years this organisation has been the voice of US timeshare owners, it is a totally independent body, not governed by the industry. Greg Crist the CEO works very hard to create a dialogue with the industry, he believes as we do that without dialogue there can be no changing of attitudes.

We also warned about another new addition to the Litigious Abogados family, Abogados Amable & Garcia.

Their website http://www.abogadosamablegarcia.com/ is the same as all the others, except for new photographs of the so called “lawyers”, (probably just downloaded from the images on the web), even the names are variations of the others used. We have yet to see what the paperwork is like and what names appear on those and the emails, somehow we think the “Departmento Legal” will have the same ladies names as all the others.

Yesterday we publish the story about the legal action by the London law firm Edwin Coe, who are representing around 106 clients against Barclays Partner Finance. This case is being held at the High Court in London, it revolves around the issuing of loans for the sale of timeshare as an “investment” by Resort Properties / Silverpoint, with a claim of over £1.5 million.

This article has already prompted a huge response on both sides of the great lake.

On another matter, it would look like that MGM Muthu (formerly Petchy) are being very aggressive in chasing “arrears” in maintenance. Many of these that we are hearing about are those who believed they no longer owned as they “sold” years ago.

These demands are coming from “Customer Services” and signed by Luliia Sulovei. They threaten court action if they are not paid and also demand around £3000 plus the “arrears” to be paid for them to grant a surrender. Most of those contacting Inside Timeshare are elderly and some are widows. This is not a nice situation and in our view amounts to bullying and extortion!

extortion

We will be publishing a full article on this in the next week or so.

Now, on with this weeks Letter from America.

Don and Irene are making their way back home today from Arizona. Irene met many new and old Diamond Advocacy Group friends during her stay and two baby rattlesnakes. (These may have been trainee sales agents). Irene has a degree in biology and said she used to teach a class on reptiles. Irene says she likes snakes and alligators (you would need to to survive a timeshare presentation). Yes, they were rattling.

Irene would like to thank Diamond CEO Michael Flaskey, intervening on behalf of the ailing pool table at Spoke and Wheel restaurant at Los Abrigados in Sedona. Kyli, the restaurant manager, contacted Irene informing her that the antique Brunswick pool table (and I thought Brunswick only made pin spotters) is to be restored to its original glory and another manager, that same day, went out and purchased additional pool sticks (we call them cues). Don and Irene ate at the restaurant. The food was superb. While dining, the Diamond Advocacy Group gained a new member. Many of the guests staying at Los Abrigados are original ILX owners. Now they are Diamond members.

Eron Grant is not a pool table, but she hopes Mr. Flaskey will show her family the same compassion.

Diamond Resorts was a Huge Mistake!

Good choice

By Eron Grant

May 12, 2017

I have asked Inside Timeshare to publish an account of our experience with Diamond Resorts. We hope to warn others to not fall victim to high pressure same day sales and encourage readers to become involved with our Diamond Advocacy Group before buying something they will live to regret later.

We seek to provide Diamond Resort members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

Many Diamond members are happy with their Diamond membership. I believe if sold properly, Diamond’s vacation program could be of benefit to some families. In our case the program was grossly oversold in terms of availability. The Diamond program will not work for us as we have all the basic timeshare benefits we need as Marriott timeshare owners.

Here’s what happened

We stayed at Diamond’s resort, The Ridge in Sedona Arizona, over Thanksgiving 2016. We booked our stay through Interval International. At the time, I had not heard of Diamond Resorts.

I called the concierge at The Ridge to ask for restaurant recommendations. She said she would get back to me. I thought it odd that a concierge needed to get back to a guest about restaurant reservations.

Later that day the concierge called back asking if anyone had scheduled us for a presentation with a DRI team member. She told me about a few restaurants she thought we would enjoy, adding that Diamond would give us a $150 gift card if we agreed to attend a 90 minute sales presentation. We agreed.

When we arrived we told the sales representative, Karen Calvano, we had a tee time scheduled in a few hours. She seemed irritated and said we would not be finished in that amount of time. Puzzled, we told her the concierge told us the meeting would only take 90 minutes. She wanted to know who told us that. She complained about the tee time when we followed her to the presentation area. She kept saying that she felt rushed going through the presentation. The presentation lasted six hours.

Ms. Calvano told us that Diamond owns numerous properties and that finding something in our local Texas area would not be a problem. We specifically asked about Texas and Louisiana because we are both working and with the kids, we can’t easily fly to take vacations due to the expense and trouble flying entails. We did say we could drive to New Mexico to ski with our kids, and added that we wanted to stay at Great Wolf Lodge.

We agreed to purchase 3500 Diamond points. When I tried to book Great Wolf Lodge, I learned it would take approximately $11,000 in equivalent DRI maintenance fee dollars to stay one week at Great Wolf Lodge when it could be booked online for $3,300. The same holds true for New York City and other big cities because Diamond does not own these properties. They are “affiliated” properties so never discounted.

I recently got in contact with another Diamond member on our DRI Advocacy Facebook group who reported an almost identical complaint. According to a DRI customer service representative, the only property available near Boston was Great Wolf Lodge Fitchburg.

The Fitchburg property was available August 14 – Aug 18 for 16,000 points.

Diamond only had availability for a Deluxe Queen.

Searching the Great Wolf Lodge Fitchburg site directly, Great Wolf had availability for a Wolf Pup Den for four nights for $1429.96 plus 270.31 tax totaling $1700.27.  At $.23 per point DRI maintenance fees, this equals $3,680 in equivalent maintenance fee dollars so $3,680 for the same property, the same week, could be booked directly with Great Wolf for $1700.

Back to our Diamond experience

Ms. Calvano told us we would be assigned the Platinum loyalty level due to being Marriott members. We own a three bedroom Marriott timeshare in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Therefore, Ms. Calvano said we could book a studio room and upgrade three times at no additional fee. Later we were told this was not true.

As we were leaving, Ms. Calavano said to contact her at any time if we had questions or needed anything at all. I emailed her on December 1, 2016 with a question but never heard back.  

In December 2016 Linda Barton, Member Marketing Agent called us and asked to attend an “orientation for new members”. She said we would learn all about our new membership, and told us to be sure to bring our tablet given to us by DRI. The orientation took place January 13-15, 2017. It was called a Diamond “Once in a Lifetime Event” in Orlando, FL. My husband had asked what this event of a lifetime entailed. He was told we would learn all about our new membership and possible upgrades. “But we just purchased our membership! We are not going to spend any more money,” my husband informed Ms. Barton.

Looking back, we should have suspected the orientation would end up a sales presentation. At the orientation the sales representative, Chris, told us we would only be allowed to upgrade one time at no extra fee. This contradicted what Karen Calvano had initially told us.

Chris said at the orientation we could sell our points back for 30 cents per point if we were platinum, but the brochure we had been provided said it was 10 cents per point. When my husband asked Chris to show us on paper where it said $.30 cents per point, Chris pointed to his handwritten notes to show us where he had written that number down. My husband demanded he show us somewhere in the DRI paraphernalia where it said points could be sold back for $.30 per point, but Chris said, “Never mind if you’re not interested. I don’t want you to have hard feelings.”

Next, we were handed over to another DRI employee who repeatedly said, “I am not sales.” He then proceeded to encourage us to purchase more points, because we could get them at a low cost of $4 something per point which, according to him, was unheard of. The fee to purchase the additional points was over $3,000 with another $4,000 something due in a year or so after that. We turned it down. This ordeal took over 3 hours.

We contacted the Diamond Resorts Advocacy Group at Diamond that promises “to assist Diamond member from Day One should a member have questions or concerns about their purchase!”

Diamond refused to cancel our contract. We filed a complaint with the Arizona Attorney General after learning Diamond had been issued an “Assurance of Discontinuance” as a result of over 400 complaints filed against the company just in Arizona. Diamond automatically denied our claim, but after filing a rebuttal the Arizona AG said we are eligible for consideration.

In response to the Arizona AG action, Diamond has introduced a new program called Clarity that is about Accountability, Transparency and RESPECT for the customer. As far as we are concerned, nothing could be farther from the truth.

Here’s a bit of information about one of our local Texas businesses owned by Jim McIngvale. Mr. McIngvale has owned Mattress Mack since 1981. It is a hugely successful business in Houston.  

Gallery Furniture believes in being on the right side, in other words, to be on the Gallery Furniture customers’ side instead of defending the industry. Advocate for the customers! Gallery Furniture makes it very clear, that we’re here for the Gallery Furniture customers, to better their lives with high quality furniture sold at the best price possible, not to pad the pockets of our manufacturers. Come out to Gallery Furniture TODAY for the best customer service in the business… (August, 2015):

http://www.mattressmack.com/macks_weblog/satisfied-customers/

Mr. McIngvale can be booked for speaking engagements.

Customer care

Perhaps Diamond would like to book him soon?

Thank you Eron for your contribution and another thank you to Irene Parker for coordinating it from the States.

Inside Timeshare welcomes contributions outlining your experiences, it helps other to know that they are not alone. Together you can influence the industry, changing the way they view the owners / members, along with the NTOA, the advocacy facebook pages and this publication you do have a voice. The industry is taking note, we know that for a fact, it is just a matter of time before they actually implement real changes.

All it leaves us to say is we hope that Irene and Don have a safe journey home from vacation, that all of you have a great weekend.

weekend cat